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ACS awarded NSF grant to evaluate career-planning tool

by Linda Wang
September 29, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 39


The American Chemical Society has received a $500,000 grant over three years from the National Science Foundation Innovation in Graduate Education program to support a joint project with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to develop a tool kit to measure the effectiveness of using individual development plans, or IDPs, to help graduate students and postdocs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines achieve their career goals.

The Impact Indicators & Instruments for Individual Development Plans (I3IDP) project aims to improve the overall IDP process used by ACS’s ChemIDP, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s myIDP, and other career development resources.

“We have anecdotal data supporting the use of IDPs, but what we don’t have is the ability to show data on efficacy of IDPs,” says ACS coinvestigator Corrie Kuniyoshi. “This project will begin the process of giving people a standard way to measure efficacy of IDPs in different contexts.”

“We’re coming together across the disciplines to start to answer the foundational questions: How do IDPs work, and why do they work?” says the project’s principal investigator, Jodi Wesemann of ACS.

“We’ll also find gaps where IDPs aren’t necessarily the solution, and we can think about how to adapt IDPs or how to complement IDPs with other pieces that are important to support students and postdocs,” says coinvestigator Cynthia Fuhrmann, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “This project is about giving universities and societies the tools to apply principles of scientific teaching to the use of IDPs and career development.”

“This award shows that the National Science Foundation sees great potential in the use of IDPs throughout the STEM graduate education landscape to build the future workforce in the U.S.,” says ACS coinvestigator Joerg Schlatterer.

Those interested in the I3IDP project can contact the project’s investigators at


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